A hernia is a gap or space in the strong tissue that holds muscles in place. It occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal muscle have weakened, thus resulting in a bulge or a tear.
First, Columbia Surgical Associates experienced staff will perform a physical exam and, if necessary, an ultrasound or X-ray for better viewing. Afterwords, a discussion of discomfort and medical history will determine the best hernia repair treatment.
Check out this Hernia FAQ to learn more from Nicole Spencer, DO.
A ventral hernia usually arises where a previous surgical incision was made. In this area, the abdominal muscles have weakened causing a bulge or tear. This can occur immediately following surgery, but sometimes won’t become apparent for years after the procedure.
Ventral hernias can also develop at the belly button (umbilicus) or another area of the abdominal wall. Certain activities can increase the likelihood of getting one, such as persistent coughing, difficulty with bowel movements and frequent straining.
Ventral hernias can usually be recognized as a bulge under the skin. Often it causes no discomfort at all, but may cause pain when lifting heavy objects, coughing, straining during bowel movements and from prolonged standing or sitting. If the discomfort is sharp or becomes a dull ache that gets worse towards the end of the day, set an appointment with Columbia Surgical Associates as soon as possible, as these symptoms are more serious and should be evaluated.
Performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair surgery requires a laparoscope, similar to a tiny telescope with a camera, be inserted through a cannula, an instrument that looks like a small hollow tube.
The laparoscope and camera allow surgeons to view the hernia from the inside on a high-resolution monitor. Typically, three to four 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch incisions are made for other small cannulas for placement of other instruments. The surgeon removes any scar tissue and inserts a surgical mesh into the abdomen. This mesh is fixed under the hernia defect onto the strong tissues on the abdominal wall, and held in place with special surgical tacks and sutures.
Post-operative discomfort is usually mild to moderate, and most patients are able to get back to their normal activities in a short period of time. Often, pain medication will be prescribed to help manage the initial pain or discomfort.
A follow up appointment in 1-3 weeks re-examines the area to ensure proper healing.
Occasionally, patients develop a lump or swelling in the area where their hernia had been. This is often due to fluid collecting within the previous space of the hernia. This usually disappears with time, but if not, a surgeon may need to aspirate it.
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Our board certified surgical specialists have more than 100 years of combined experience in the practice of surgery, and specialize in the surgical treatment of a variety of health problems, including hernias.
Please reach out with questions or make an appointment by calling our office at (573) 443-8773.